How many times have you been late to an interview because of public transportation? Now, sprinkle on some heavy snowfall or treacherous rainfall and you have every job seeker’s worse nightmare! Inclement weather coupled with poor transportation undoubtedly can put most prospective candidates in an awkward position as these situations are typically beyond your control. As a result, if you’ve ever found yourself running late or considering rescheduling your interview due to inclement weather and transportation, we’ve answered five of the most frequently asked questions about how to proceed:
1. What should I do if I wake up to inclement weather?
In the event that the inclement weather is unexpected, the first thing you should do is check for weather updates and how it may change throughout the day, including how this might impact traveling. As a best practice, try not to cancel last minute (the night before) if bad weather has been forecasted for a few days as it can make you look uninformed or absent-minded. If the weather will impact public transportation, aim to leave for your interview 30-40 minutes before you would normally need to in order to make up for possible delays. Similarly, if you intended on driving, search for alternative routes to be able to arrive on time. Remember, use your best judgment—most interviewers will understand if you need to cancel or reschedule if it is too dangerous to travel.
2. When is the appropriate time to contact my interviewer?
As a general rule of thumb, use your best judgment when you are unsure if your interview can be rescheduled due to challenging conditions. In cases like these, unless you are contacted by your prospective employer about rescheduling your interview, you should plan to arrive on time as scheduled. In the unlikely event that you are stuck on a train or in traffic and you know for certain that you will be late, you should contact your interviewer to update them on your current status. To show your respect for their time, it’s important to stress your willingness to either meet later in the day or reschedule for another time.
3. How should I dress?
You should dress appropriately, taking into account the weather and the need to be prepared with professional attire. Whether it snows or downpours, wear the right protective gear (i.e., hat, umbrella, boots, etc.) and carry an extra pair of shoes or outfit to wear during the interview. Always allow yourself a few minutes to change and compose yourself after traveling through inclement weather. Keep in mind, your appearance can set the stage for how well the rest of the interview goes, so a messy or unprofessional look could hurt your chances of landing the job.
4. What should I do if I need to reschedule?
You should only rely on rescheduling as a last resort if you’ve exhausted all possible options of getting to the interview. Since you want to show the prospective employer you are genuinely interested in the position, be as flexible as you can when discussing a different day/time. Remember, the more difficult you are, the more likely the prospective employer is to move onto a more accommodating candidate.
5. What’s the best way to communicate?
As a prospective candidate, communication is key when inclement weather is involved as it will demonstrate how you manage unforeseen complications. You should call the person responsible for scheduling the interview the moment you expect you will be delayed or realize you cannot travel. A conversation or voicemail will relay information in the timeliest fashion and will convey ‘in the moment’ emotion (i.e., excitement, frustration, anxiousness, etc.), which a prospective employer may be more empathetic to than an email.
In the end, how you choose to deal with the inclement weather and getting to your interview will be a direct reflection of your professionalism, so be sure to respect your interviewer’s time and willingness to accommodate your travel needs.